What a way to start the season for the Bruins.
Boston won its season-opening game against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night, 3-2, in a shootout behind a two-point game from Brad Marchand.
The B’s came out strong and played with purpose. In fact, you’d never know there weren’t any preseason games with how Kevan Miller — who hasn’t played since April 2019 — Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy, Trent Frederic and Anders Bjork played.
The power play was cookin’, with Marchand (twice) and Nick Ritchie potting the goals for the Bruins, while Miles Wood and Ty Smith tallied them for the Devils.
Tuukka Rask was solid between the pipes, stopping 20 shots and gave his team a chance to win. MacKenzie Blackwood also was stellar, but he came up just short.
The five-minute overtime was enough to raise your blood pressure as both teams gave it all they got, but it was decided in a shootout.
With the win, the Bruins moved to 1-0-0, while the Devils fell to 0-1-0.
Here’s how it all went down:
The first period was fast-paced and filled with plenty of action. Anders Bjork, Charlie McAvoy and Kevan Miller (who hasn’t played in a game since April 2019), all looked good, while Trent Frederic was strong on the forecheck.
Frederic drew a slash six minutes in, but it went to 4-on-4 when Matt Grzelcyk was whistled for a slash of his own. Both penalties were killed off, but the B’s were shorthanded once again a short time later.
McAvoy went to the box for interference after launching Yegor Sharangovich into the boards. New Jersey couldn’t capitalize, and it came back to haunt them four minutes later.
Wood was called for goaltender interference with 2:58 to go, which caught the attention of Grzelcyk. Tempers flared a bit before the officials separated everyone.
The B’s got the last laugh as Marchand tapped in a pass from David Krejci to make it a 1-0 game.
The Bruins outshot the Devils by a large 16-4 margin after 20 minutes.
RASK, DEFENSE SHINE
Sean Kuraly was called for a trip two minutes into period, but it was killed with ease to keep the Bruins’ lead in tact.
Miller continued to show no signs of rust, knocking down Michael McLeod before Nathan Bastian felt his wrath.
The Black and Gold were forced to kill another penalty when McAvoy went away for two minutes for hooking. It was the same story as the previous penalties before Boston went on the man-advantage thanks to a too many men on the ice call.
It wasn’t as successful as their last power play, but the Bruins had some nice looks before the game went back to full strength.
Rask came up huge with 4.9 seconds left when Pavel Zacha found himself on a breakaway, but Rask was able to rob him to keep the shutout alive.
Boston’s defense clearly was a strong point in the game, as it continued to outshoot New Jersey 26-11.
DEVILS BACK IN IT
The Bruins had a chance to double their lead early in the third when Kuraly drew a hold with 13:38 left in the game but were unable to find the back of the net despite some solid chances.
New Jersey finally found twine with 11:09 to go when Jack Hughes knocked the puck free and Wood wristed home the shot.
The Devils also found themselves with a crucial chance to take their first lead of the game on a power play on a delayed holding call on Krejci.
But it was short-lived when Wood, once again, was sent to the sin bin for goaltender interference, and it was 4-on-4 for 1:01. And just as the power play was about to expire, Ritchie, who had close calls all game, finally lit the lamp.
But it didn’t last long when Smith tied things at 2-2 not even a minute later.
And this one would need overtime to decide the winner.
It looked as if this game was over with just over a minute to play when Kyle Palmieri was on a breakaway with the game on his stick, but Rask stonewalled him to keep the game alive.
The netminder made another solid save before Blackwood came up big for his team in a heart-stopping sequence on both sides.
Rask, for the third time, saved the game when Hughes went on a breakaway in the final second.
And to a shootout we went.
Nikita Gusev and Charlie Coyle both were stopped.
Jesper Boqvist and Ondrej Kase both were stopped.
ROUND 3 — B’S WIN IT
Hughes was stopped and Marchand was the one to end it.
The Bruins get right back to it against the Devils on Saturday. Puck drop from Prudential Center is set for 1 p.m. ET.